Unnecessary cancer treatment in men on the rise

Andrew M. Seaman

A new review of U.S. data on prostate cancer finds that despite established guidelines, a growing number of men who should not be getting aggressive treatment are getting it anyway.

Men with low-risk tumors and a life-expectancy of less than 10 years — for instance, men in their 80s or 90s — are not candidates for so-called curative therapies like radiation or prostate surgery because there’s little evidence it would benefit them.

Yet the proportion of men in that category receiving curative treatment rose between the late 1990s and late 2000’s, the study found. “In our society, cancer is probably the most feared disease.

The problem with prostate cancer is that most patients have a very non-aggressive form of cancer,” said Dr. Cary Gross of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

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